Movie Problems…

Growing up within the millennial generation, there were certain fads and films that everyone was involved in during my childhood. From the bell-bottom jeans and chokers of the late 90’s, to the crimped hair and Lizzie McGuire films of the early 2000’s, my generation has seen a series of styles fade in and out of mainstream fashion. Yes, even the tiny South-Western Ontario town in which I grew up in, the fads were impossible to escape.

My childhood was spent in a town that still can proudly claim to be a ‘blink-and-you-miss’ it place. When people ask me where I grew up, I always give the municipality’s name instead of the specific town from that conglomeration of residences because sometimes people recognize the general area (although, even that’s rare for Chatham Kent).

Despite the small-town theme of my childhood, mainstream pop-culture (like ‘life’ in Jurassic Park) always found a way to mold the brains of my peers and I.  Some of my fondest memories include making my childhood friend Noah be ‘Short Round’ from the film Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (while I, of course, pretended to be the head-lining character).
Sadly, Harrison Ford is not the focus of this blog post.

Do you remember that Disney film Spirit
I do.
My mother knew the significance that horses seemed to play on my generation from the moment that film was released. My peers loved horses. They loved them so much that, despite my otherwise indifference to the beasts,  a ripple effect made its way through the town. The children loved horses, which meant that all houses within in the horse ‘splash-zone’ had to love horses.

My Mum bought us the VHS.
From the get-go of owning that film, there were a few things I came to realize…

One– movies where action is narrated only by horse-thoughts held way less appeal to me than lions being able to talk to each other (see- The Lion King).
Two– VHS copies can have flaws on them that can change the way you see a movie forever.

Our tape of Spirit had a flaw that messed up the visuals to an entire scene; a scene that was very important to the movie’s plot.

There is a sequence in the film where the protagonist horse is separated from his horse-love by falling into a river. Note, I have never actually seen a copy of the film where there isn’t a flaw so I can only assume that’s what happens before the static sets in.

When I was young, I assumed all copies were like this- that no one had the ability to see the scene because that’s how the creators intended it to be. Now? I know there are copies out there where the horses fall into water without sudden visual interruptions; I refuse to watch them.

That (most-likely) pre-broken VHS was a part of my childhood and I am not about to let a non-broken version of the film change that. My lot in life is to live out my days, never really knowing what happened in that scene. I am okay with this- I want this.
This is how you keep the world MAGICAL.

-Jessica Dixon

It’s been a while…

As the title suggests, it has been quite some time since I last updated this blog. Let’s begin where we left off…

First thing’s first; I graduated.
Last June, I officially obtained that long-sought-after BA in English language and literature. The day came all too quickly after my exams, yet it also came with my sister and her girlfriend (who decided to visit from Alberta). Accompanied by those two and my mother, I ascended into my current life as a ‘University Graduate’. Was I excited? You bet. Was I terrified?

Beyond the limits of comprehension.

You see, something I had anticipated happening occurred as I graduated; I remained unemployed in my field. I had originally hoped that I’d slide right into the master’s program at Brock after graduation- after all, a PhD was everything I wanted. And then… it didn’t happen. My application was rejected and I was- in a word- devastated. Imagine this: you find a path that you’re finally excited about. You dream about teaching hundreds of students- about presenting ideas in a variety of colourful ways- about being something… only to have it ripped from your grasp in one, unapologetic email.

It took me quite some time to realize that it wasn’t the end of the world.
Still, as I scoured the jobs that Toronto seemed to hesitantly offer, I began to realize that being a student was far easier than being a graduate. That may sound pretty obvious to most of you, but it was a daunting realization for me. I had no direction- I was Dustin Hoffman in the year 2016 (minus Mrs Robinson). I wanted to work at something other than my minimum-wage job in retail… but there was nothing waiting for me ‘just around the river-bend’. I had no offers, and as the summer continued my anxiety only worsened.
That was until a friend of mine asked me the question that tempts many graduates: why don’t you go back to school?
I applied to Niagara College for their Brodcasting, Radio, Television, and Film program.

Now, I know this may sound like an odd choice. After all, although I do love these aspects of the media (and frequently quote them in casual conversation- yes, I’m that person), what business did I have in this field? I had just spent the last 4 years studying something completely different. What was I doing? In all honesty?

I was actively panicking.
I acted on impulse. I chose a program just so I could escape the daunting realization that for the rest of my life I would be grasping at opportunities that would seemingly always be out of my reach. But hey, I liked the media, right?

September 2016- I was a first year again.
It was weird… I was around teenagers going into their first post-secondary experience. Sure, I look young, but I was painfully aware that I was significantly older than all of my peers. The only 22 year old, in a sea of 17 and 18-year-olds. I often asked myself, what I was doing… of course, this only lasted three days.
The joys of a BA…
I was advanced quickly into second year; which meant I had to choose which stream I wanted to go into rather quickly out of the gate. The options? Film (movie people), TV production (the technical persons), or Presentation (the on-screen egomaniacs). I chose to be an egomaniac. Still, advancing into a pre-established, 13-person class was stressful. Everyone knew everyone, everyone was a friend to everyone else- and then there was me: the adult sitting quietly in the corner, attempting to catch up on everything. 

Let’s fast-forward.
I caught up on everything.
I found I liked the program; I found friends in my classmates and professors; I found a position as the Production Director on the school’s radio station…
I found happiness in one of the darkest times of my life.

At the end of this ‘second’ year, I am now able reflect on the steps I’ve taken to get where I am today. I have become far more ambitious than I thought I could ever be- I’ve worked harder than I thought I ever could. I won an award for something I worked on. An award. 
Still, some of my classmates have asked me if I regret not just starting in College…

Honestly? When I look back on my four years at Brock, and my first year at Niagara College… At the tragedies I’ve had to overcome, the all-nighters, the love, the hate, the fear of constant failure… the devastation of failing to achieve my initial dream…

It has all been worth it.

I would not be the person I am today if it weren’t for everything I’ve gone through. I am eternally grateful for every bruise I’ve earned and every person I’ve met- I’ll wear my scars as badges of honour as I advance into the career I truly want. I understand that sometimes failure, rejection… it’s meant to shape you, not break you.

But guess what?
I’m graduating again next year…
Maybe terror is a part of life?

-Jessica Dixon